I must admit I hadn’t been looking forward to this match, as the venue has been very patchy, with some pegs seemingly devoid of fish. I was on a work Xmas do in Exeter the night before, so left that early to catch the last train home and be in a fit state to fish, although I’m not convinced that leaving a good night out, to endure a torrid match, was such a good idea.
Thankfully no driving for me, as Tim Clark was once again filling one of the vacant spaces, we stopped at Cannards for breakfast and I did feel ripped off at paying £15 for two breakfasts that were missing hash browns and tinned tomatoes, the fried bread was inedible and the final gripe, is that the sausages are usually good quality, not today, they were like the Asda smart price ones we use as dog treats……
So a bad start to the day, worsened when I drew peg 33, I couldn’t refer to the previous form of the peg as this was the first time it was in, several absentees forcing Mark Poppleton’s hand, in repegging to try and ensure there were no huge gaps. I would normally strongly disagree with altering pegging during a series, but I have a lot of sympathy with him in this case and feel it was the best option.
The pegs either side of 33 had little form from the previous rounds and with 38 being taken by Mike Nicholls and 37 by Ash Tomkins, I thought that it would take a miracle to get anything from this, as I needed a section win to have any hope of scraping into the final payout places. Chauffeur Tim drew 31 next to me and was busily scrounging bait, as one of the no shows had agreed to bring his bait.
I set up a rod with the smallest size pellet feeder on and then 4 topkits, one for down the edge, which I didn’t hold out too much hope for, one for maggot down the track, one for meat at the bottom of the far shelf and a rig for up the shelf, although opposite me the island has collapsed into the lake. This meant that the area I could get to along the far shelf varied wildly in depth from 4” to 3’, I found an area that had about a foot or so of constant 2’ depth and picked that as the area to fish.
I managed the odd tiny roach from here and then one small carp, before holding 16m for no reward got too much, a look down the track produced another tiny roach, but even they weren’t exactly prolific. Then a foul hooker about 5lb, but I reckon he was a loner, as no further indications were forthcoming. The pellet feeder did not produce a bite, apart from one tiny roach when I tried live maggot under the micro’s.
By now I was becoming fed up of watching Ash’s elastic coming out, Mike Nicholls had a few and peg 35 was also getting some fish, whereas myself and those to my left were struggling to get a bite. I had a short walk up to peg 28 and put the kiss of death on Tony (Rixon) as I saw two bites whilst stood with him, before his peg also died completely.
I went back and tried again, this time starting up a new line and very frugally feeding 4mm meat, this produced one bite only, an F1 around the 2lb mark. With ¾ of an hour to go, with me on two carp and an F1 and Tim struggling, we decided enough was enough and packed up. Whilst packing up I had underhanded the pellet feeder into the margin, that had been totally unproductive on the pole and it went round, another carp netted, but as I was so far behind the other end of the section, there was no chance of a late flurry and comeback. The fish went back, all my gear was packed away tidily, in the dry and we headed off to the garage for a Costa Coffee.
No idea of the results, but well done to those who triumphed in the league, thanks to Mark and Nick for running it, running a series is a thankless task I am well aware of. I must admit, the way I feel at the moment I wouldn’t be rushing back to fish it again, unless the league is earlier in the year.
Next match up for me will be an open on Avalon on 4th January, as I am working flat out over Xmas and New Year, hope to get a good result to christen my new Octbox on its first outing. Contact Tony Rixon to book in for that one.
So whilst it’s Bah Humbug really, I will wish anyone who has got this far down my drivel, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.